United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division
OPINION & ORDER
Aiken, United States District Judge.
Jack Alfred Strubel Jr. seeks leave to proceed in forma
pauperis ("IFP") in this action against
defendants SAIF Corporation ("SAIF") and Chemeketa
Community College. For the reasons set forth below,
plaintiffs Complaint, (doc. 1), is DISMISSED, with leave to
amend. The Court defers ruling on plaintiffs Application for
Leave to Proceed IFP, (doc. 2), pending submission of an
amended complaint. Further, plaintiffs Motion for Appointment
of Counsel (doc. 4) is GRANTED in PART and DENIED in PART
complaint is somewhat limited in terms of factual allegation,
though it does appear that plaintiff suffered an injury by
falling from a ladder while at Chemeketa Community College.
Thereafter, the Court infers that he accessed workers
compensation benefits through SAIF. Plaintiff complains that
while was able to be examined by a SAIF approved doctor, he
was unable to obtain a second opinion from another physician
through SAIF. He requests that this Court order SAIF to fix
what he styles as misdiagnoses, but the Court infers to be a
decision that he could work on modified light duty.
all parties instituting any civil action in United States
District Court must pay a statutory filing fee. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1914(a). However, the federal IFP statute, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(1), provides indigent litigants an opportunity
for meaningful access to federal courts despite their
inability to pay the costs and fees associated with that
access. To authorize a litigant to proceed IFP, a court must
make two determinations. First, a court must determine
whether the litigant is unable to pay the costs of commencing
the action. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Second, it must
assess whether the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune to such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
regard to the second of these determinations, district courts
have the power under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) to screen
complaints even before service of the complaint on the
defendants, and must dismiss a complaint if it fails to state
a claim. Courts apply the same standard under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) as when addressing a motion to dismiss
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Watison
v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012). To
survive a motion to dismiss under the federal pleading
standards, the complaint must include a short and plain
statement of the claim and "contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim for relief
that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged. The plausibility standard . . . asks for more than a
sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully." Id. The court is not required to
accept legal conclusions, unsupported by alleged facts, as
se pleadings are held to less stringent standards than
pleadings by attorneys. Names v. Kerner, 404 U.S.
519, 520-21 (1972). That is, the court should construe
pleadings by pro se plaintiffs liberally and afford
the plaintiffs the benefit of any doubt. Karim-Panahi v.
Los Angeles Police Dep't, 839 F, 2d 621, 623 (9th
Cir. 1988). Additionally, a pro se litigant is
entitled to notice of the deficiencies in the complaint and
the opportunity to amend, unless the complaint's
deficiencies cannot be cured by amendment. Id.
are several issues with plaintiffs Complaint, as currently
pleaded. The first and most serious is jurisdictional.
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction,
"possessing only that power authorized by Constitution
and statute." Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251, 256
(2013) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
Federal jurisdiction may be based upon the presence of a
federal question or on diversity of citizenship. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331, 1332. To invoke federal question
jurisdiction, a plaintiff must plead that the defendant has
violated some constitutional or statutory provision. To
establish diversity jurisdiction, a plaintiff must allege
that he or she is a citizen of one state, that all the
defendants are citizens of other states, and that the damages
are more than $75, 000.
plaintiff alleges that this case involves a federal question,
however, his complaint fails to identify any federal statute
or constitutional provision under which his claim would fall.
In his civil complaint cover sheet, plaintiff identified
"Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice" as the
nature of his suit, but tort is not an exclusive issue of
federal law. Plaintiff also identified
"Constitutionality of State Statutes" as a basis of
this suit. However, plaintiff fails to point to any specific
Oregon statute which may be unconstitutional. Thus, plaintiff
has failed to establish jurisdiction pursuant to a federal
question at this time.
it does not appear that diversity jurisdiction is satisfied
by the Complaint. Plaintiff does not allege an amount in
controversy over $75, 000, and there is not complete
diversity between the parties as all reside or are
incorporated in the State of Oregon. Also, confusingly,
plaintiff checked a box on his civil cover sheet indicating
that this action was removed from state court. However, the
Court can find no record of a state proceeding based on the
information in the complaint.
the Court cannot reach the question due to the nature of the
factual allegations in plaintiffs Complaint, if plaintiff is
trying to challenge an Oregon state workers compensation
decision, then his claim may also be barred under the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Federal courts other than
the Supreme Court lack the jurisdiction to correct state
court judgments. Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263
U.S. 413, 415-16 (1923); District of Columbia Court of
Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 483 n. 16
(1983). It is also unclear whether plaintiff
pursued any appeals in Oregon state courts before filing the
Complaint as currently plead does not adequately state a
claim upon which relief may be granted in this Court.
Plaintiff is advised that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8
provides that a civil complaint should include a "short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief." Fed, R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). In this
case, the Complaint does not present the details and ...